Shay: Forcing censorship only contributes to inherent problem of white privilege

Nik Shay

Link to article by Suzanne Perez: https://www.kmuw.org/2022-02-09/a-kansas-principal-shared-a-video-about-speaking-up-against-racism-he-was-ordered-to-apologize

Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf9QBnPK6Yg

 

During Black History Month, various Black figures are commemorated for their achievements that often go overlooked within education. 

As white people during this month, we should use our privilege to educate others about the problems that Black Americans face every day while amplifying our peer’s voices. 

That’s exactly what principal Tim Hamblin was trying to educate on at a teacher in-service day in January when he showed the staff a four-minute video featuring a Black author, Joy DeGruy. 

In the short video, DeGruy recounted the discrimination she faced as an adolescent.

Hamblin’s reasoning for showing the video was just. The girl’s basketball team was to watch the video after their Black players were subjected to racist Instagram posts. 

Apparently, this video made a teacher so uncomfortable within their work environment, that they decided to take matters into their own hands, reporting Hamblin to a school board member. 

Suzanne Perez, a reporter for KMUW, managed to get ahold of the email sent to staff by Hamblin, where he apologized for using the video during the meeting. 

And he was told to apologize by the school board. 

That the school board forced him to apologize for educating others is, to me, a classic case of white people blinded by their own inherent prejudices. 

Now, I’m not trying to say the entire school board is racist, but what I am saying is that they are contributing to the issues of white privilege. 

As it is, race isn’t taught in schools, and it comes down to the teachers to teach it. If they don’t know how to teach it or what to teach, then the problem continues. 

Using the excuse of “wanting to create a happy and safe environment for all students and staff,” is completely unacceptable. 

I want the school board to recognize its rash decision, especially during a month in which we are encouraged to listen to Black voices. 

“Respecting” opinions should not obstruct being proactive in bringing awareness to racism. 

If you want to truly be a school board that provides for students, then you have to acknowledge what your students actually go through on a daily basis.